- According to Senior Counsels Paul Muite, Nzamba Kitonga, and James Orengo and other lawyers, the commission is no longer tenable with only 3 out of the maximum 7 commissioners.
- Mr Muite warned that the IEBC could not continue transacting business because of lack of quorum.
- Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen asked the remaining commissioners to quit too.
The electoral commission was on Monday crippled after three commissioners resigned, leaving it incapable of conducting any business.
Ms Connie Nkatha (vice-chairperson), Dr Paul Kurgat and Ms Margaret Mwachanya announced their resignations in Nairobi, in a joint move that left the Wafula Chebukati-led Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) virtually dissolved.
The resignations – after another commissioner Dr Roselyne Akombe quit 10 days to the October 26 repeat presidential election last year—mean the IEBC has only three commissioners, chairman Chebukati, Prof Abdi Guliye, and Mr Boya Molu.
According to Senior Counsels Paul Muite, Nzamba Kitonga, and James Orengo and other lawyers interviewed by the Nation, the commission is no longer tenable with only three out of the maximum seven commissioners working.
“This commission is cursed,” said Mr Orengo, the Senate Minority Leader. “The resignations at the IEBC are a symptom of an incurable cancerous disease that bedevils it. Without a doubt the resignations undermine the legitimacy of the Jubilee administration and confirm that last year’s elections were an electoral fraud.”
Mr Muite warned that the IEBC could not continue transacting business because of lack of quorum.
The IEBC Act states that the quorum for the commission to conduct business is five commissioners and an amendment to the law last year to reduce it to three was last week quashed by the High Court for being unconstitutional.
Mr Kitonga, who chaired the Committee of Experts that drafted the 2010 Constitution, said: “The remaining three commissioners cannot continue to conduct any business. They do not have a quorum. They have two viable options: To resign now and let a new team be appointed or that the vacant positions are filled.”
But Mr Chebukati appeared unmoved saying: “The commission assures the public that its operations are on course and we remain focused on delivering our constitutional mandate. As the chairman, I am committed to the course of transforming the country’s electoral management body to make it more responsive and professional.”
He asked Parliament to draft laws to enable the replacement of the four commissioners and insisted that they had resigned because of the plenary resolution to hold Mr Chiloba to account, saying they had the option of demanding a review of the decision.
“Their action demonstrates lack of capacity to lead in difficult times and accommodate divergent views,” said Mr Chebukati in three-page statement last night.
The latest development was not entirely surprising, coming after a series of the commissioners’ clashes with Mr Chebukati, especially after the historic September 1 Supreme Court decision that annulled the presidential election—the first in Africa and only the fourth in the world.